Let me start this article out with a disclaimer: it all depends. Using Veeam’s SAN-based snapshots definitely has its upsides, but there are a lot of variables, like how often you’re taking snapshots, the type of storage you have, and how well architected your environment actually is.
Basically, Veeam can leverage your SAN snapshots along with your VMware snapshots… provided you’re using an approved storage vendor. This can take the performance strain off your virtual environment as well as off of your storage.
Why Use SAN-Based Snapshots?
In using SAN-based snapshots, you can potentially make more snapshots during production hours without taking a hit on performance in your VMware environment.
The reason you can take more snapshots is because they’re happening on the back-end array, which can often commit snapshots more quickly than VMware. However, a SAN-based snapshot is of an entire LUN of storage. That means it’s not as granular as a snapshot on the VM level, which is actually done per server. Therefore, you’ll have to take this into consideration when you’re architecting your virtual backup solution.
What If SAN-Based Snapshots Are Not Supported in My Environment?
There are a variety of storage arrays that are not supported by Veeam’s SAN-based snapshot feature. In fact, most still aren’t. This is not inherently a problem because it’s how Veeam has always functioned in the past.
The important consideration when taking VMware and SAN snapshots is ensuring that your storage is architected correctly so it can commit snapshots quickly and efficiently. In other words, the performance and connection type of the storage must be able to support the frequency and size of your snapshots.
Pay attention to your storage performance. You want storage that can snapshot during production hours without causing latency, with or without Veeam’s SAN-based snapshot feature.
And when it comes to your connection type, you must have a low-latency, high-throughput option like Fibre Channel or 10gig iSCSI.
Long story short, if you can leverage this feature, do it. If you can’t, just make sure you have the right architecture in place to support your backup requirements.